Social Worker Certificate Program Information

Social worker certificate programs, which may be offered at the bachelor's or graduate level, cover human behavior, social environments and laws, communication techniques, social welfare policy and more. Students gain basic training in social policy and justice used with organizations in a variety of communities.

Essential Information

Social workers are trained individuals who help people in their communities deal with such issues as unemployment, inadequate housing, substance abuse, familial problems and mental illness. In order to gain social worker certification and become eligible to work in the field, individuals must earn at least a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. A master's degree in social work is usually required for state licensure as a clinical social worker. Some programs offer training in specialized fields. After earning their certificate, graduates may earn social worker certification or licensure to become registered social workers in a specific field, such as family services, child welfare, gerontology, policy planning or public health. Additional certificate programs that are similar to those for social workers include programs for substance abuse counselors, family counselors and public policy planners.

  • Program Levels in Social Work: Certificate programs, bachelor's degree and master's degree
  • Social Work Program Fields: Family services, child welfare, gerontology, policy planning or public health
  • Prerequisites: High School Diploma or equivalent
  • Online Availability: Online programs are available
  • Program Specializations: Human behavior, social environments and laws, communication techniques and social welfare policy

Certificates in Social Work

The core curriculum for social worker certificate programs includes a general overview of social work; however, elective courses are also available for additional training in a specific area. In addition to social work field practice, many programs also cover such topics as these:

  • Sociology
  • Social work with individuals
  • Human behavior
  • Cultural diversity
  • Research methodology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Social workers hold jobs in a variety of environments, and they are trained to offer professional advice on personal problems, finances, emotional disorders and more. Combining a social worker certificate with a bachelor's or master's degree in social work can prepare students for entry-level positions or career advancement opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that job growth in the social work field would grow by 19% from 2012-2022, which was faster than average. The mean annual salary for mental health and substance abuse social workers was $45,820 as of May 2014, reported the BLS ( Healthcare social workers earned an average of $53,590 per year, while child, family and school social workers averaged $46,180 annually.

Professional Certification and Continuing Education

Requirements to become a licensed or certified social worker vary by state; however, students may need additional clinical experience to become a clinical social worker. Social workers are also required to complete continuing education credit hours to stay licensed, which are offered through private and nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities. The Master of Social Work (MSW) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work programs are also available for students pursuing career opportunities in supervising, management, research, teaching or consulting social work positions.

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